Qui Tran: Q&A


Tara Williams, Opinion Section Editor

Q: If you had the opportunity to cook dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you cook with and what would you make?

A: I would love to cook a traditional Vietnamese meal that consists of a caramelized fish along with a lemongrass and tamarind based soup with shrimp and vegetables with chef Shigetoshi Nakamura who is one of the four Ramen Gods of Japan and he’s the one that taught me a lot about Ramen because he understands how to make incredible stocks and broths.
Q: If you had the opportunity to eat dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be, and what/where would you eat?

A: Can’t think of the three I would have dinner with but I would love to go eat at one of my favorite Italian restaurants called Carbone. So if any of you would like to join me, Let’s go!!!

Q: Do you have any dream culinary collabs (either in or out of StL)?

A: I would love to cook with Guy Savoy or Eric Ripert. So far those are my 2 favorite high end chefs and it’s amazing how they pack all that flavor in such a small bite!!
Q: Who would you consider to be a major influence in your business or personal life?

A: My parents are my major influence in my life. They showed me that you can have whatever you want in life but you have to work hard for it. They taught me humility and always be respectful of others and always be humble.
Q: What do you think makes the St. Louis restaurant scene unique?

A: I really love our St. Louis food scene. What makes us unique from other major food cities…and I can’t speak for all of them but we have such a willingness to help one another. There’s great comradery here. Me and a lot of the chefs in town cook at a lot of fundraisers together and are always lending a hand to one another which is rare in some cities.
Q: What lessons have you learned from working in the restaurant industry?

A: One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the restaurant industry is that it’s very dynamic and that if you want to succeed, you have to adapt with the times. Stay true to your food and yourself but always be open to learning new things and working with others in your industry to elevate one another.
Q: If you can, can you tell us about Nudo Ramen?

A: Nudo is going to be a fast casual noodle joint. We will be specializing in different types of noodle soups. We will be doing different types of PHO which is a Vietnamese beef noodle soup and also many different styles of Ramen which comes from Japan. I hope to be open by February.
Q: Do you have any advice for students who are interested in the restaurant business?

A: My advice for anyone looking to start their own business is….Don’t do it!!! Be a doctor. Just kidding!! If you do decide to go into the restaurant business, be prepared and willing to work 15 hours a day. You have to be dedicated to your craft and work towards improving yourself and your business everyday. Be open and willing to learn from others and elevate yourself and those around you. You have to lead your people everyday because it’s going to be a tough journey.